A strange type of Pica

Marwan M. Al-Sharbati, Ziad A. J. Zaidan, Ala’Adin Al-Hussaini, Khalid Al-Khalili


Pica, where the patient eats non-food items such as mud, clay, varnish etc., is a common behavioural problem seen in children, pregnant women and the mentally retarded. However sponge pica is a very rare variation. We report a case of a 5-year-old Omani girl, who presented with sponge pica since the age of two years, with recent abdominal pain. Investigations showed anaemia, elevated liver enzymes and normal intelligence. There was no evidence of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Both clinical and laboratory findings showed complete recovery after a few weeks of oral iron therapy. Her appetite improved, and she started to gain weight. No recurrence was observed when followed up after two years. Awareness is necessary to detect and treat pica as early as possible to prevent its complications. 


Pica, anemia, sponge pica, abdominal pain, Oman.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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